|MJ's a little (flirty) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2013-10-17 05:15:00
|Entry tags:||cheshire cat, narcissa black|
Who: Lucy Reed & Lin Alesi
What: Mini-Log of Science Bro Intervention, Armadillo Style
When: BACKDATED: just after the Ian Ordeal (so, like, a monthish ago?)
Warnings/Rating: Swears & cuteness.
Lucy had known Lin long enough to understand when he needed a pick-me up. Now, plenty of the guys at the research facility were happily quiet and reserved to the point where Lucy only gave them a thumbs up when they did a good job or a smile at lunch time. Lin, though? He fell into the category of eccentric like she did and when he started to crawl into his shell, she got concerned. Being a science bro was a sacred job. It was one part freaking out about science, one part babbling about nerdy things the rest of the world didn’t understand and one part trying not to get too far in each other’s business. Imagine dating each others friends or accidentally saying a mean thing about a sibling? It would cast an awkward cloud over their shared workspace and maybe lead to (god forbid) some kind of actual fight. Lucy didn’t want to fight over petty shit. She was way too old to deal with any of that.
But, today she was going to break that last rule and as far a she was concerned? It was allowed if it was hurting Lin’s ability to be a good science bro. But, being the not-so-nosy woman that she was, Lucy needed a buffer. This came in the form of Duck, a rescued and forever-injured armadillo from Texas. She had met him during her volunteer work over at the Animal Ark rescue and was prepping him to show off to kiddies at the local library. Duck, like all armadillos, didn’t look like he was from this world. With a rough, beetle shell, huge useless ears, a long piggie nose and squat legs he scurried, sniffed and tried to escape the giant play pen she constructed for him. He wasn’t as fast as the other armadillos due to an injury on his back foot and some happy weight he gained at the sanctuary, but he was still so wiley.
Lucy was over by the sink when Lin walked in, filling up a tub with water. She smiled at him like she had a secret and turned the sink off. “Lin, hey. Come here I want you to meet Duck. Grab that corn cob over there for me?” She pointed to a fresh corn on the cob chilling on the nearby workstation and then lugged the tub of water over to Duck’s play pen. Lin could hear the armadillo excitedly scurry around the linoleum floor. “Heeeyyy you little duckie.” Lucy carefully set down the tub for Duck who instantly started sniffing the water. “Dooo you like bathtime? Yes you do. It’s bathtime. It’s just for youuu.” Lucy sang, voice always a little scratchy and warm. In seconds, Duck was already in the tub, shaking his shell and slapping his snout on the surface of the water.
Lin had been a bad science bro as of late, in spite of the sacrosanct status of the position, which, of course, he knew. The shit had just slipped his slightly-addled-if-not-fucking-fermented mind. Preoccupied, chilled to the bone, alone in an apartment that could swallow a blue whale without a hiccough, if apartments could swallow anything, scared of stupid-ass monsters in the dark, fearing for people’s motherfucking lives, and with a set of friends he’d all but fucking kicked in the teeth, he… wasn’t exactly himself. Well, he was, but he was the sad puppy version of himself, which was a terrible fucking version to be. Whereas he might have burst into the lab at eight in the morning singing “Toxic” at the top of his lungs before, now he had a tendency to shuffle and yawn, to reek of cold alcohol and want nothing more than eight hours of ambient shit he didn’t have to think about. Whereas before he was more than ecstatic and more than obsessive over the Lin and Lucy’s Lab (play)List—its order, length, and the proper distribution of her shit and his, now he just kinda didn’t think about it and instead painted his nails at lunch or napped in the biology floor’s kitchen. On the ground. By the wall. Where there was a little bit of carpeting.
Things had been a little rough for him, okay?
So when he came in, blinking at the white lines of fluorescent lights and with little knowledge of what the fuck he’d even been doing before he left work the Friday before and apparently no brain cells with which to remember, and he heard Lucy’s bright, sunshiney, I-have-something-cute-to-show-you voice, he frowned in an uncharacteristic display of confusion. He stared at her for a minute as she stood at the sink, watching as she carried a sloshing tub to a pen she’d erected in the corner near the telescope cupboard.
Still, he did as she said. His bag was dumped on the speckled bleach-stinking tiles near the door and he dragged himself across the room. His sneakers, rainbow Nike Air Yeezys, fly as hell, scuffed on the blanched surface of the floor and he sniffed. Fingers still bloodless as they wrapped around the aforementioned corn cob.
There were distinctly cute animal sounds coming from the corner and Lin found his curiosity piqued. He listened to Lucy sing to whatever it was and came over, eyebrows high and mouth slightly open.
It was an armadillo. A tiny little knight of the desert, welded in its own skin, and adorable as fuck. He was in the water with a splash on linoleum. Lin made an “aww” sound and smiled, his exhaustion having lighted away at the sight of Duck(ie?).
“Can he eat this while he’s bathing? What if he gets a cramp?” It was a joke. Lin grinned at Lucy and watched the little fellow frolic happily. He made a sound of annoyance. “God, what the fuck. So fucking cute.”
Lucy settled next to the tub, her long legs in cargo capris like the middle-aged woman that she was and her feet donned with less swanky sneakers covered in mud and desert sand. There were already signs of water over her black DRI shirt and maybe some more dirt, but this wasn’t unexpected. She was an outdoorsy scientist. Mortal enemy to most indoorsy types, but Lin and some of the other guys were the exceptions. “If he can get a cramp from wading in water, then I gotta tell my lake burgers I had last weekend.” Lucy grinned, feigning worry and then ran her hands over Duck’s back as he played. “He’s very particular about his playtime. Water, toweling and then noms.”
Lucy gave Lin a look like he better get over there and pet the armadillo real fast. A sort of nearly intimidating look that she usually reserved for interns or younger biologists on the field who forgot the difference between Coryphantha and Opuntia (they were night and day difference in the cacti world). Meanwhile Duck noticed a moment of lost attention and splashed in the water a little more loudly, his rat-like tail slapping the water noisily until he got his petting. Lucy, who probably shouldn’t have rewarded behavior like that, cooed in response and splashed back.
Before receiving the look, Lin plopped onto his ass on the hardness of the floor, winced as it kind of crushed his coccyx, then scooched forward toward the barrier of the playpen. The corduroy of his pants was nice enough to offer no resistance. His hands curled over the little fence and he placed his chin atop knuckles, and he watched with interest scientific and just because cutes, dark brown eyes unmoving on the little creature and the waves rising and falling under the pressure of Lucy’s hands. He tipped his head to the side, content for a moment to observe the movement of strange skeletal structure as it encountered drag, interesting in its dependence on fluid flow velocity. He considered the fact that the nine-plated armadillo gave birth to four identical offspring from one egg and was the one reliable manifestation of polyembryony in Mammalia.
He then felt the intern-intimidating force of Lucy’s eyes on him and glanced over, only a little guilty. He crawled onto his knees.
“Good morning,” he greeted the little thing as he reached for it, one hand stabilizing weight on the pen, the other offered with long-fingers starred outward and palm up. The boy’s voice took on a vaguely American-tries-posh-British accent. He dipped his chin. Water splashed the skin of the back of his hand and he smiled. “Good to meet you, Cingulata-member. I’m Lin, Primate-member.”
Lucy smiled a little more relaxed when Lin crawled over the pen and moved towards Duck. She was a biologist a field biologist who had plenty ticking in the back of her mind, but nothing like these lab boys. She wondered if he saw the world with tiny labels on just about everything. Wile E. Coyote made up Latin names for things as simple as desks and chairs. It’d be amusing. To her, science was much more visceral. It was about habitats and formations and the things mothers taught their young. It was about how curious it’d seem to the casual observer that an animal like the armadillo would absolutely love water so much.
Duck continued to wiggle and Lucy cupped a handful of water and sprinkled it over him. “Hello Lin, Primate-member.” Lucy did her best armadillo impression. It sounded a lot like Steve, the grump from the geology department who occasionally seemed to be in good spirits when his favorite whatever team won. “Can you jump four feet in the air when you’re scared? I didn’t fucking- ah shit.” Lucy laughed and then covered her mouth with her hand still covered in armadillo water. “I have to work on my no swearing in front of the babies.”
Like most humans, Lin existed as a series of contradictions—the salient one in the current situation being: he wasn’t fond of definition, of labels, of things being put into mental boxes for ease of digestion and understanding (though was it really understanding if you had to carve pieces of it off to get it to fit into a predefined space, so far from tailored it was laughable? lol, nope), but at the same time, he enjoyed the exercise of remembering trivia, the fine details, he liked to situate and catalogue his many observations and his useless, at times far too specific compendium of knowledge. He enjoyed hands-on work—he prodded at bones and fossils and dirt all the time, didn’t he? He sliced open long-decayed organs to examine tissue—but there was no doubt about the fact that, like the Cat, he was a cerebral person, when it came down to it. He enjoyed words on a page, taking them out of their confines of paper, and thinking on them long past the point it was rational or advised.
Playing with an armadillo, however, was a nice-ass change of pace. The boy smiled at Lucy as her hand went to cover her mouth. Her armadillo voice was impressive and gruff, and brought to mind Steve. Lin laughed.
“Girl, you have some serious fucking work to do,” he said fondly, leaning closer to the little creature in its little pen. He emphasized his swears gleefully. “For the record, yes, I fucking can. Don’t judge. Next thing you’ll tell me is that I don’t have cheek teeth. Then I’ll have to bite you to prove it. I don’t want that this early in the morning.”
Lucy laughed and quietly practiced her swear word stand ins. “Ducking, shiz, dirt, bunnyhopper.” She recited, pointing at Duck like he was going to repeat after her. But, Duck gave zero fucks about keeping it PG for the babies. Lucy could respect that. “I’ll keep it to those words and maybe the parents won’t throw a fit and kick me out of another learning center.” She made it sound like she was a rogue educator, on the run from the law with her rebellious learnin’ skills and trusty sidekick, Duck the not-duck. She narrowed her eyes like a weathered biker looking out into the sunset and nodded sagely at the flopping armadillo.
“Do you want to wait until he’s done bathing?” Lucy asked, reaching around for a towel. “I can hold him like a baby while you feed him. He loves that.” She smiled brightly at Lin, but then it suddenly faded and she gave a strong ducking duck duck! under her breath. “I’m not good at keeping a happy face when I’m worried, okay? And, homeboy Linus, I am worried about you.” Lucy tried to say it as gently as she could, knowing that all scientist types could get touchy about feelings from years of being misunderstood before college. “You’ve been dragging ass lately, man. What’s going on?”
“Adventure Time is a good resource. ‘You’re creeping me the math out’ is my faves. Or there’s ‘frak.’ Or Robin’s way. Or, do what I did when I was little, just pick a word and replace every swear with it. Like, ‘you bearshole,’ ‘oh, bears,’ ‘sonofabears.’” Lin supplied helpfully, chattering away like a squirrel in a tree, as he watched Duck splish-splash about with amusement. Lucy’s wild west educator bit earned a smile wide as the Mississippi, but much, much whiter. He spread his hands in the air between them, unfurling a banner in his mind’s eye, emblazoned in red on brown. “Learnin’ Lu and Not-Fuck Duck.”
He laughed at himself and at Lucy, until the laughter petered out to a happy hum and he sat back a bit to let the woman get to her armadillo with her towel. A smile remained, still, carved in sandstone, until Lucy ...uh, swore. Until she Duck-swore.
Lin didn’t sigh, even though he really wanted to. He closed his eyes briefly, then opened them wide, trying to push the whites wider than skin would allow. He looked a little cray. The boy scuffed to his knees.
He made her a solemn science bro promise: “I’ll tell you about it when the baby’s fed and in bed, and after the morning dance-off.”